Printed November - December, 1957
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THE SYMBOLIC CODE
Mt. Carmel Center Waco, Texas
WHEN GOD'S PEOPLE DELIVERED
(This study was given by V.T. Houteff April 3, 1943 and June 15, 1945.)
Our study for this afternoon is based on texts that are somewhat scattered throughout the Bible. It is in reality a review of the studies we have had the last several weeks, or you might say that it is the conclusion of them.
You remember through our study of the eleventh chapter of Daniel and Isaiah chapters seven and eight and onward, they bring to view a war and the deliverance of God's people in a time of great distress. That is a point that I am to emphasize this afternoon. We will read first
Zech. 1:18, 19 -- "Then lifted I up mine eyes and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem."
The prophet saw four horns, and the angel that talked with him made him to understand that these horns were symbolical of the Gentile nations which had scattered Judah (the two-tribe kingdom), and Israel (the ten-tribe kingdom), and also Jerusalem (the capital city of the two-tribe kingdom -- Judah). In other words, in the symbol of the four horns, Zechariah saw those Gentile nations which scattered God's people and destroyed their kingdom.
Zech. 1:20, 21 -- "And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
The prophet first saw four horns which perfectly symbolize those Gentile nations which scattered God's people, for horns are used to push and scatter. Afterwards though, he saw four carpenters, thus lending the impression that they have come to build; for that is the business of carpenters. When the prophet saw the carpenters he wanted to know the purpose of their presence. In his answer, the angel first told him that these carpenters are none other than the four horns (Gentile nations) which had scattered Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. And these same horns that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem have now returned as carpenters to cast out the Gentiles and thus free God's people. It therefore becomes obvious that the four horns which Zechariah first saw point back to the time when Israel and Judah were scattered, and the symbolism of the four carpenters must point forward, to a time years later when God is to restore and rebuild the kingdom. Briefly, then the symbolism of the horns looks back to the destruction of the kingdom, whereas the other, the carpenters, looks forward to the repairing of it.
The question we ought next to consider is whether the fulfillment of the work of the carpenters took place in the time when the Jews returned from Babylon after their 70 years captivity, or whether it refers to some other time; for you remember that the Jews were scattered, and their land was taken, and they went into captivity under Babylon for the 70 years of Jeremiah's prophecy, after which they returned and the city was rebuilt.
Zechariah says there were four horns which would include all the nations that had a part in scattering God's people. And, moreover, if this prediction met its fulfillment in Nehemiah and Haggai's time, all the Gentiles should have been driven out forever. But they were not. Besides, the horns were those nations that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem, and now they have returned to free them and repair the kingdom, and in chapter two of Zechariah's prophecy, God declared that not only would His people's kingdom be restored, but many nations would join themselves to the Lord. Since both Israel and Judah did not return, and since other nations did not join themselves to the Lord and His people when the Jews returned from Babylon, we cannot say that this prophecy met its fulfillment in the return of the Jews from Babylon. And since this prophecy has never been fulfilled, it must take place at some future time.
Through it all we see in Zechariah's prophecy a prediction that one day Gentile nations would be engaged in rebuilding the Israelitish kingdom in Palestine that was once destroyed. We see also that there is to be a world war in which Gentiles outside of Palestine and the Gentiles within will be involved. In that war God's people, Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, are to be delivered and made free and the kingdom will be rebuilt. That is as plain as anything I have ever seen.
In Luke 21:24 we find these words: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." It is at the time Zechariah's prophecy is fulfilled -- when the four carpenters drive out the Gentiles -- that Jerusalem shall no more be trodden by the Gentiles, for their time to occupy the Holy Land shall be brought to its end.
Then the Jews are to return and possess the land. Isaiah, Daniel, and Nahum also bear prophetic testimony to the fact that there is to be war and trouble and deliverance of God's people at the time His Kingdom is restored on earth. Let us now consider Jeremiah's prophecy.
Jeremiah, chapters twenty through thirty is one long account, or book, if you please, containing both history and prophecy. It deals with the wickedness of the Jews, and how God would deal with them if they did not repent. And the Lord tried every possible way to lead them to repentance, but they would not respond. In the twenty-sixth chapter is an account of a conference they held to determine what to do with Jeremiah, the Lord's prophet. Some wanted him killed, but others objected to it and his life was preserved. One of the most important facts to be observed in these chapters, however, is that the Lord declared that the punishment He was to mete out to His people, the Jews, would sometime be given to the kingdoms of the Gentiles also. We shall now read
Jer. 30:1, 2 -- "The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book."
The Lord commands the prophet to write in a book all the words that He had spoken in the preceding chapters.
Jer. 30:3 -- "For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it."
All that God had said about the destruction of Israel and Judah was to be carefully written in a book, because sometime He is to deliver them both, and He did not want that fact to be forgotten.
I am positive upon Bible authority that the kingdom restored is not to be made up in heaven above. It is to be made up in the very land where God's people lived until they were driven out because of their sins. Yes, the Bible teaches that all the twelve tribes some day will return and possess that land -- the land that He gave to their fathers. After the millennium God's people will possess not only Palestine, but they will possess the whole earth. They must first, however, return from among the Gentiles and possess the land of their fathers in fulfillment of the prophecy we are now studying. Necessarily, then, it must take place before the millennium, before God's people go to heaven.
Jer. 30:4-6 -- "And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?"
We heard a noise of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
We do not have to ask whether a man travails with child, for we know that he does not. What, then, is the reason for suggesting the question? It indicates that something is to happen that never happened before. It will be something as strange as if a man were to travail with child. A time of great and unusual trouble and fear is to overtake the people. It is to bring great distress and anxiety upon them.
Jer. 30:7 -- "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it."
Though it is designated as the time of Jacob's trouble, yet there is no trouble like it in the respect that none is so great. In this prophecy God is revealing that before God's people return to their father's land there shall be a time of trouble that will turn all faces pale. It will be a time of trembling, of fear, and of trouble such as never was.
Trouble is coming. It is not going to be a small trouble. Why is it called Jacob's time of trouble? Jacob met his trouble while he was returning to the promised land. Now Jacob is to return again to the Promised Land with all his household, and again he is to meet with great trouble. That is why it is called the time of Jacob's trouble. The trouble is to be exceedingly great.
Some of us may think we have hardship now, but the fact is that we do not know what hardship is. We cannot now comprehend or even imagine how great the trouble will be. "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." The trouble actually is what saves him. Then the time of trouble is coming for the good of the latter-day Jacobites. It is coming to deliver them. through this most difficult time, it is the man who has the greatest faith in God that will fear the least. The more faith one has then the greater will be his deliverance.
We have learned that in that great time of trouble those represented by Jacob will be delivered. Daniel calls it a time of trouble such as never was, and he also foretells that Michael shall stand up and deliver everyone whose name is written in the book. Why did both prophets write about it? Jeremiah perhaps deals more directly with the deliverance of the people and makes plain the time God is to accomplish the deliverance.
Jer. 30:8 -- "For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him."
To break one's yoke and bonds means to make one free. It is from the Assyrian yoke that Jacob is going to be made free.
Jer. 30:9 -- "But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them."
Now we will read the last part of Jer. 30:8 again: "...and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him." The reason there will be no strangers is that no one will serve himself there. In the religious realm, strangers serve themselves rather than the Lord and their king. But in the Kingdom all will serve the Lord their God and David their king. If I am a minister of the gospel for what I can get out of it, then I am serving none but myself; but if I am serving for the good of God's people, then I am serving God. There are many people today dying for their country. Should not a Christian be willing to die, if necessary, for the cause of Christ? There shall be no more strangers among Jacob that will serve themselves, "but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them."
There are two principals brought to light in this statement: One is religious and the other is civil. The one religious is none other than the Lord their God; and the one civil is David their king. If He is to raise David to them then it must be that they are going to have a theocratic form of government as they had in David's time.
Jer. 30:10 -- "Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid."
Jacob should not fear, because he shall be saved out of his trouble. God is going to deliver him by a miracle. If it were not a fearfully troublous time they would not need to be told to fear not nor be dismayed. It is to be a terrible time of trouble just before Jacob is delivered. Certainly, then, the statement that there is a silver lining behind every cloud is true in this case.
Jer. 30:11-13 -- "For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines."
God's people are to receive punishment but it is only going to be in measure. The incurable bruise and grievous wound is the kingdom lost. Though the bruise is incurable, yet they are to be delivered. Only a miracle can heal an incurable bruise. Just before God's people are delivered they will be painfully aware that there is no possible way for them to be delivered. But a miracle is to take place. Then all will know that God alone wrought their deliverance.
Jer. 30:14, 15 -- "All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee."
God's people suffered the loss of their kingdom because of their sins.
Jer. 30:16 -- "Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey."
This is to begin to be fulfilled when the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.
Jer. 30:17 -- "For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after."
The adversaries will make sport of Zion because apparently no one will be looking after them, and they will have no following or friends -- no one to plead their cause.
Jer. 30:18 -- "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof."
The city shall be rebuilt and the palace shall remain.
Jer. 30:19 -- "And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small."
They are going to multiply and be a great people.
Jer. 30:20 -- "Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before Me, and I will punish all that oppress them."
Their oppressors are still there.
Jer. 30:21 -- "And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto Me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto Me? saith the Lord."
The nobles shall not be of the Gentiles, for they shall have their own government.
Jer. 30:22-24 -- "And ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have done it, and until He have performed the intents of His heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it."
To find what the whirlwind is, let us turn to
Jer. 25:15-18 -- "For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day."
It made Judah a curse. Jerusalem was first among the nations to take this curse.
Jer. 25:19 -- "Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people."
Egypt was next.
Jer. 25:20-29 -- "And all the mingled people and all the kings of the land of Uz and all the kings of the land of the Philistines and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, and all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled People that dwell in the desert, and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes. And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by My name and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts."
The Lord here declares that He commenced His punishment with His own people and He is not going to excuse other people from punishment. All the nations to whom He sent it were to drink of the curse, and what He did to punish His people is a sample of what He will do to the nations, because He will not allow them to go unpunished.
Jer. 25:30, 31 -- "Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He shall mightily roar upon His habitation; He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord."
The wicked will be destroyed.
Jer. 25:32 -- "Thus saith the Lord of hosts Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth."
Evil will go forth from nation to nation, for God will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth. It means war.
Jer. 25:33 -- "And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."
This verse is not describing the conditions that will prevail as a result of the coming of the brightness of the Lord when He comes in the clouds. This is a slaughter from the great whirlwind of Jer. 25:32. It is from war: Why should the Lord first bring this on Judah and Jerusalem and then to the nations? Because they had the greatest light and therefore they had the least reason to be wicked. Then when this war starts in the time of the deliverance of God's people, the most enlightened people will suffer first. Please return now to
Jer. 30:23 -- "Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked."
This whirlwind is warfare which does not arrive and then quickly die out. It stays long. It is to start in the latter end of the time God's people are scattered among the Gentiles just before His people are delivered.
Jer. 31:1 -- "At the same time, saith the Lord will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."
The people that were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness, the Gentile world, showing that the sword fell while the people were still in the Gentile nations. Those that were left will be restored to their own land. It is in the time when the true ones in Israel are left and find grace with God.
Jer. 31:3, 4 -- "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry."
She will again be a kingdom as she once was.
Jer. 31:5, 6 -- "Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the Mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God."
Judah is in Zion; Ephraim refers to the kingdom of Israel (the ten-tribe kingdom). Therefore the day is coming that Ephraim will go to Judah in Zion to the Lord God.
Jer. 31:7 -- "For thus saith the Lord; sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye praise ye, and say, O Lord, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel."
There are people yet to be saved.
Jer. 31:8 -- "Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither."
A great company shall return.
Jer. 31:9, 10 -- "They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the Word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare It in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
An announcement is to be made to the nations informing them of the good things the Lord will do for Israel.
Jer. 31:11, 12 -- "For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."
Let us now turn to Isaiah 30 and read another prophet's prediction of the very same prophecy we have just read about this afternoon.
Isaiah chapter thirty describes the wickedness of Judah and Israel, and sets forth God's intention to destroy their kingdoms. Let us now read
Isa. 30:18 -- "And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him."
In the previous verses the Lord sets forth the determination of His people to go their own way which will lead to loss and shame. But in this verse He declares that He will wait for a time in mercy for the true ones among them, those who w.l. wait for Him. Thus will He be exalted. And a special blessing is in store for those who do wait for Him.
Isa. 30:19 -- "For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee."
They shall dwell in Zion and Jerusalem, not in some other place.
Isa. 30:20 -- "And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers."
Though the kingdom was to be broken up, yet in the time of restoration their teachers would be seen of the people.
Isa. 30:21 -- "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
When the horse comes to the forks in the road, he wonders which road you want him to take. All he wants is but a gentle touch of the reins by the driver to indicate the road he is to follow. So with God's people. The still small voice will clearly direct them in the right way if they will follow it.
Isa. 30:22-24 -- "Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence. Then shall He give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan."
There shall be prosperity.
Isa. 30:25, 26 -- "And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people, and healeth the stroke of their wound."
The day when the Lord binds the breach of His people and heals the stroke of their wound is in the day of restoration. It is the day the kingdom is returned to God's people. At that time the moon and the sun will shine many times brighter. This of course is symbolical language, the sun signifying Bible Truth. If the sun is to shine seven times brighter it would indicate that the Truth would become clearer and brighter. Since it is even now growing brighter and brighter we see in it another evidence that the time this prophecy is to meet its fulfillment is almost here.
Isa. 30:27 -- "Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire."
The sun shines seven times brighter in the day that the name of the Lord cometh. This is speaking of the day of the Lord. And according to Malachi, the Lord was to send the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord should come.
Isa. 30:28 -- "And His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err."
He shall come to sift the nations with vanity, for He knows that vanity appeals to them. Through it they will be led where God wants all to go who follow after vanity. They will err in their ways through specially designed vanity which God shall send them, because they follow vain things.
Isa. 30:29 -- "Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel."
That is the way you are going to feel if you follow the Lord in Truth.
Isa. 30:30, 31 -- "And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod."
The Assyrian will be beaten down in the Promised Land through the voice of the Lord. You do not know now what that voice will say, but when it comes you will know it; and whereas you do not need to know it now, you will have to know it then. If you look for it you will recognize it without a doubt.
Isa. 30:32 -- "And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will He fight with it."
Speaking of this event, Nahum said the fir trees shall be terribly shaken, and the trees will fall. What is happening in the shaking that has already commenced in today's world? Some great men have fallen, and it is likely that the reason the woman Babylon will be put to rule the world will be due to the trees (rulers) having fallen in the shaking that is now only commencing.
The next chapter of Isaiah, like the preceding chapter, starts with the subject of the fall of Judah, and it also brings in a promise of restoration. We are told that the reason Judah fell was that they trusted in Egypt rather than obey God. Let us continue by reading
Isa. 31:4 -- "For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for Mount Zion, and for the hill thereof."
The Lord is not going to be afraid; He is going to come down to fight for Mount Zion -- the kingdom -- to restore it. How do we know it is the kingdom? Please turn with me to --
Isa. 1:27-31 -- "Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them."
That is what happened anciently to Israel and Judah. But what is to happen at the last?
Isa. 2:2 -- "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
The hill of the Lord then is the kingdom restored. Let us continue with
Isa. 31:5, 6 -- "As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it. Turn ye unto Him from Whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted."
God is calling for reformation in a people other than the children of Israel who have deeply revolted against God.
Isa. 31:7, 8 -- "For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin. Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited."
"Then" -- when this idolatry is cast away by "every man" -- the Assyrian will fall by the sword. In the time when God pleads for His people to return to Him, and when they do it, then the Assyrian will fall. Not before that. It was because of their idolatry that they lost the land, and God is not going to bring His people back to their land with their idolatry. Therefore we and all God's people must not delay putting away our idols. We had better cast them out and be ready on time to go to the place where it will be so much better than it is in the present world. For there none will be tired or sick or lonely or afraid.
Isa. 31:8 -- "Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited."
The Assyrian will fall by a sword which God Himself shall send. Assyria will not fall by a mean man. His fall will come under circumstances that will clearly show that God caused it to happen. When ancient Israel fell it was God who brought it, it was God who was responsible for it. So it will be also with Assyria unless she, too, turns to God. Moreover, it is a vain thing for them to look to some other nation for help. None can stay God's punishment. Only God can help at such a time.
Isa. 31:9 -- "And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, Whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem."
At the time God's purifying fire is in Zion and His purifying furnace is in Jerusalem the Assyrian will pass over to his stronghold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign. From this we can see that Nineveh will not lose out completely when she loses in Palestine. She is to lose out in Palestine first and then flee to her stronghold. This has reference to the time when the Kingdom is set up before the scarlet-colored beast comes, before the woman rules the beast. Indeed, this prophecy is talking about Assyria, not Babylon. It shows that Assyria will lose out in the promised land before she loses her stronghold. The Kingdom, then, is to be established before the complete fall of Assyria takes place.
The Kingdom is going to be established, moreover, in Zion and Jerusalem, not in Washington or Mt. Carmel. And many peoples and nations shall flow unto It. It will happen just as soon as "every man" casts away his idols. It is useless to expect it before. As soon as that happens Assyria will fall in the land. The coming of the Kingdom then is not waiting for anyone but God's own people.
Let us return to Jeremiah and read a few more verses from the chapter we were studying earlier.
Jer. 31:13 -- "Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow."
Both old and young will rejoice together.
Jer. 31:14 -- "And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith the Lord."
All will be satisfied.
Jer. 31:15, 16 -- "Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy."
This includes all God's people living and dead.
Jer. 31:17, 18 -- "And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God."
How different is Ephraim at the time of his deliverance compared with what he was like when he was taken captive! Once he was like a wild bullock; but now he is tame.
We have read a number of Scriptures here today. Now let us very briefly summarize what we learned from it. We learned
(1) What is the time of Jacob's trouble;
(2) The Kingdom will be set up in a time of war;
(3) The whirlwind and sword (war) is the evil, the curse that is to be sent to all the nations to whom the Lord will send it;
(4) The evil (war) is to go from nation to nation and is not to be of short duration;
(5) God's people will be delivered in a time of great trouble;
(6) They must cast away all idolatry as a prerequisite to being delivered;
(7) The Gentiles will have their trouble when they are called out of Babylon. Today's study dealt mainly with Jacob's own trouble and about his being delivered from the Assyrian yoke.
The great and dreadful day of the Lord is fast coming. Let us each be ready for it on time lest we lose out altogether.